Middletown Judge Mark W. Wall dies at 70

Published: Saturday, February 11, 2017 @ 10:32 PM

Longtime Middletown Municipal Court Judge Mark W. Wall was found dead in his home Saturday.

By Lauren Pack, Staff Writer

Longtime Middletown Municipal Court Judge Mark W. Wall has died. 

“Tonight we lost a friend and mentor for many of us at the Division of Police and to all the City of Middletown in Judge Mark Wall. Our prayers go out to his family and friends. Rest in Peace your honor,” Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said in a Saturday social medial post. 

Wall, 70, was appointed to the bench by Gov. George Voinovich to served the balance of Judge James Comb’s term and was elected to his first full six-year term in November 1995. 

A lifelong resident of the Middletown area, Wall graduated from Middletown’s Bishop Fenwick High School and from Miami University in 1968. He earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1973. 

During the Vietnam conflict, he served with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Army. He received several citations and awards, including the Bronze Star Medal. 

Wall began his practice in 1973 with the local firm of Wilmer and Wilmer. He was in general trial practice with federal, state and local courts along with probate and real estate law. 

Wall was active in community service and youth sports and served two terms as a Lemon Twp. trustee prior to his appointment.

Wall is survived by his wife, Linda, and two children. 

Muterpaw said Wall was found at home shortly before 6 p.m. and is believed to have died of natural causes. 

“He was a tremendous person in this community and was much bigger than a judge,” Muterspaw said. “He was a mentor to most of us when we were younger policemen first coming on and just a friend to those in need. Very selfless man with an incredibly big heart.”

Attorney Greg Howard — who will take the oath of office as Butler County Common Pleas judge next week following the death of Judge Craig Hedric in November — and his wife, attorney Melynda Cook, who served as visiting judge for wall said, “We are both devastated by this news. Our Middletown community lost a leader, we lost our judge and our friend. He saw good in those who came before him even when they were charged with crimes. He was well respected by attorneys, his staff and city prosecutors and those who appeared in front of him, many of whom called him ‘Judge Walls.’ We have both been privileged to sit in for him as acting judge.”

"Judge Wall was to swear me in on Friday afternoon. It is hard to comprehend he is gone,” Howard said.

Lisa Snead, Wall’s judicial assistant, said her heart splintered into pieces when she got the new of her boss’ death. 

“I don’t know how to voice my feelings for this man that I worked closely with day to day for more than 20 years. My heart is shattered,” Snead said.

She added that when Wall left work Friday he promised he would take care of himself and he would see her on Monday. “Now he is gone. A huge part of my life is no longer on this earth,” she said.

Butler County Assistant Prosecutor David Kash, who had known Wall since he began practicing law in 1979, said: “He was an honorable man, brilliant and insightful jurist. He will truly be missed.” 

Defense attorney Lawrence Hawkins III remembered Wall as a beloved judge. 

“He was a great man and and great judge. He appointed me on my first murder case. That led me to getting certified to do capital cases. He was one of he most respected and beloved judges,” Hawkins said.

Moraine police shooting vigil: Jamarco McShann’s death ‘senseless’

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 7:45 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 9:10 PM

Vigil for Jamarco McShann ends with balloon release

Community members and family gathered tonight for a candlelight vigil to remember a man shot and killed Friday in a Moraine police shooting.

Local activist, the Rev. Jerome McCorry, spoke at the vigil and said he represents the family of 23-year-old Jamarco McShann.

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“This was senseless,” he told the crowd in the Pinnacle Park lot that marked the spot where McShann was shot and killed.

Moraine police said he pointed a gun at them, which family members dispute.

Jamarco McShann

A large photo of McShann was held up at the vigil, which ended with a balloon release and a vow from organizers to seek justice.

“It’s about a bunch of scared cops who use the excuse ‘I feared for my life,’ ” McCorry said. “In the name of Jamarco a federal lawsuit will be filed.”

Pumpkin glow highlight of ‘Saturday Nightmare’ in Germantown

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 9:49 PM

There were 1,000 Jack-o-Lanters Saturday night, Oct, 21, 2017, for Germantown's Saturday Nightmare event.
DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF
There were 1,000 Jack-o-Lanters Saturday night, Oct, 21, 2017, for Germantown's Saturday Nightmare event.(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

There were 1,000 carved pumpkins alight during the “Saturday Nightmare” in historic downtown Germantown.

The second annual event began at 3 p.m. with activities for all ages, including a car show featuring 300 to 400 hot rods, carnival rides, games for children, Halloween costume contest, beauty pageant, food, beer truck and live entertainment.

“It’s nice for us to be able to give back to our community we love,” event co-organizer Dave Eshbaugh said.

There were 1,000 Jack-o-Lanters Saturday night, Oct, 21, 2017, for Germantown's Saturday Nightmare event.(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

The highlight of the “Saturday Nightmare” is the pumpkin glow, which this year featured 1,000 jack-o’-lanterns.

The festivities mark the final of four Saturday Night Out events, held the third Saturday of the month in June, July, August and October. Local businesses, sponsors and the city helps make the events a success, Eshbaugh said.

The summer events draw 2,500 each. But in October, the crowd is easily 5,000, he said, after one car show organizer came up with a Halloween theme.

“It became our flagship event,” he said. “It’s phenomenal for our community.”

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Germantown Fire Chief Dan Alldred said he opens the firehouse to the community and serves popcorn. It’s also an opportunity to interact with kids and teach fire safety.

“We think it’s great to have an event like this,” he said.

Homeless pets find families at SICSA’s free adoption event

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 8:26 PM

VIDEO: Dog is adopted during SICSA event

Free adoptions on Saturday helped give homeless pets find a furr-ever home.

The SICSA Pet Adoption Center in Kettering partnered with Wagner Subaru for the “Wagner Subaru Loves Pets” free adoption event.

(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

Wagner Subaru and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sponsored adoption fees of all animals.

The Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals is the area’s first no-kill shelter that has served companion animals for more than 40 years.

(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

More than 1,500 dogs and cats were adopted through SICSA in 2016, in addition to 3,400 low-cost spay and neuter surgeries, the agency reported.

The adoption center is open seven days a week at 2600 Wilmington Pike in Kettering

Bubble under construction over Lakota YMCA’s outdoor swimming pool

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 6:43 PM

Local YMCA covering outdoor pool for year-round use

In the coming weeks, the Lakota Family YMCA will be blowing a huge bubble behind its building.

Work started Saturday as nearly 40 volunteers assisted YMCA staff to stretch out the material that will be used to construct an inflatable dome over its 25,000-square-foot outdoor pool to make it available year-round.

“There is so much demand for indoor swimming,” said John Schaller, Lakota Family YMCA executive director.

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Schaller said that demand has resulted in an investment of about $500,000 to build the inflatable bubble so members can use its outdoor pool year-round. The project also will include an enclosed walkway from the main building to the new bubble.

The 25-meter pool features eight lanes for competitive swimming and a zero-depth beach entry for senior citizens to participate in Silver Sneaker fitness programs. In addition, all of the other pool features, such as the water slide, will be able for year-round use.

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The bubble will go up in late October and come down in late April or early May to accommodate the summer swimming season for the 8,500-member facility.

“We not only have our own swim team, we are the home waters for the Lakota East, Lakota West and Monroe high school swim teams … and the sheer needs of the community for swimming lessons,” Schaller said.

He said the Powell Crosley YMCA in suburban Cincinnati also has a bubble over its outdoor pool.

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Sarah Matchison, the facility’s membership director, said they have coined this project the “Bubble” because it literally is a bubble (dome) that will go over our outdoor pool and our YMCA Families and the surrounding community will be able to use more than the Memorial Day to Labor Day time frame.

The Lakota Y also is the home of its YMCA/USA Swim Team, Lakota Y Stingrays. This past summer, the team sent swimmers to the YMCA National Long Course Championship Meet in Greensboro, N.C., for the first time in its history.

“By adding the bubble over the outdoor pool we will be able to provide family areas and family time to our community at the bubble,” she said.

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Matchison said the Lakota Family YMCA also works with the local Butler Tech and Lakota high schools for their Cardboard Canoe Regatta in May. Students use their education and engineering skills to build cardboard canoes and race them in the pool. For the past two years, the event has been held in the indoor pool.

“Moving it out to the bubble will allow for more spectators and possibly more than two boats racing at a time,” she said.